'We're on a good path forward': Sudler releases statement on staffing changes at Dover city hall

By Leann Schenke
Posted 10/28/21

DOVER — Following a roughly 50-minute executive session Thursday, Dave Hugg has been named interim city manager for Dover, replacing former interim city manager Matt Harline.

Mayor Robin …

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'We're on a good path forward': Sudler releases statement on staffing changes at Dover city hall

Posted

DOVER — Following a roughly 50-minute executive session Thursday, Dave Hugg has been named interim city manager for Dover, replacing former interim city manager Matt Harline.

Mayor Robin Christiansen said in a telephone interview Thursday that Mr. Harline “chose to retire and look for other employment.”

Kim Hawkins, the city’s human resources director, also has chosen to retire, Mayor Christiansen said. 

On Friday, Kay Sass, public affairs and emergency management coordinator, said in a news release that Ms. Hawkins retirement comes after 26 years of service to the city.  

Mayor Christiansen said both Mr. Harline’s and Ms. Hawkins’ last days of employment with the city were on Tuesday.

“While we are thankful for the time the individuals have served, we are sure things will run relatively smoothly during this transition,” Ms. Sass said. 

In the release, Council President Roy Sudler Jr. said, "while the changes were abrupt in the organization, we are on a good path forward. We requested to withhold any comments to the media until we could meet with staff first. As a family, our staff deserved to know what the path looked like on this journey before everyone else.

"When you have a large shift in any organization there will be speculation, but we have an incredibly talented, dedicated workforce that will sail through this period just fine,” he said.

Mayor Christiansen said Mr. Hugg was chosen as interim city manager during the executive session, which was attended by the full city council. The meeting was presided over by Councilman Sudler.

Mayor Christiansen said Mr. Hugg will continue to serve as director of planning and inspections and economic development — roles he held prior to being named interim city manager. However, Mayor Christiansen said he expects Mr. Hugg will delegate some of his responsibilities from those positions.

Mr. Hugg previously served as the town manager for Smyrna for 16 years prior to his retirement in 2016. Ms. Sass said he brings with him the “knowledge to carry things forward in this interim.” 

Ms. Sass said there will likely be an announcement in the next week or so with additional details on who will be filling the vacant positions. 

Mayor Christiansen said he received a request to attend Thursday’s executive session on Tuesday. The session’s agenda, which was posted to the city’s website, includes a notice at the top that reads “this agenda was posted with less than seven days notice due to the urgency of the situation requiring consideration.”

Mayor Christiansen said Mr. Hugg will serve as interim city manager “until the search process is complete.”

Mr. Harline was hired as Dover’s assistant city manager in May of 2019.

The city has been conducting a search for a new city manager after its most recent city manager, Randy Roberston, resigned in late May. Mr. Robertson had been on the job for a little more than six months before tendering his resignation and moving away from the area to care for his mother.

The application process is still open for the city manager position and can be found on the city website at cityofdover.com/jobs. The  job opening for the human resources director will be posted soon, Ms. Sass said in the release.

This story has been updated to reflect new informaiton.

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